Kishida, Pelosi affirm U.S.-Japan ties for peace across Taiwan Strait

Pool / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shake hands at the official residence of the Prime Minister on Friday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is visiting Japan, over breakfast at the Prime Minister’s official residence on Friday morning. They confirmed that Japan and the United States will continue to work closely together to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The prime minister strongly condemned large-scale military exercises by China.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting lasted 53 minutes and was attended by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara, as well as Minoru Terada and Gen Nakatani, both advisors to the Prime Minister. Kishida told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office about the content of the meeting.

During the meeting, Kishida brought up military exercises staged by China in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Regarding ballistic missiles falling into the nearby sea, including in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), he told Pelosi: “This is a serious issue that concerns the security of our country and the safety of our people. We strongly condemned [it] and protested to China.”

He went on to explain that he called for the immediate suspension of the exercises, saying, “The recent actions by the Chinese side will have serious consequences for the peace and stability of the region and the international community.”

Kishida also expressed his hope for “Pelosi’s leadership and the support of the U.S. Congress” in strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific. They also discussed North Korea, which is developing nuclear weapons and missiles, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They also exchanged views on efforts to achieve the prime minister’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Kishida also expressed his gratitude to Pelosi for her condolences on former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot to death in July.

The Japanese government has avoided a direct assessment of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said, “[I am] not in a position to comment.” Kishida did not mention the Taiwan visit itself to reporters.

After the meeting, Pelosi held a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. In response to the ballistic missile launch by China, she said: “The Chinese have tried to isolate Taiwan. Our friendship with Taiwan in a strong one.”

Pelosi’s visit to Japan was her first in seven years, since May 2015. Pelosi is on a tour of Asia with a delegation of lawmakers and arrived in Japan on Thursday evening. On Friday afternoon, she will observe a plenary session of the House of Representatives and meet with House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda and others.

Matsuno said at a press conference on Friday morning: “The stability of the relationship between the U.S. and China is extremely important for the international community. We would like to encourage China to fulfill its responsibilities as a major power based on a strong relationship of trust with the United States.”